Thanksgiving in Reno, should we dump water?

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New member
Nov 5, 2012
Hi everyone, newbie here...

We live in SF bay area and are planning a trip up to Reno/Tahoe for the upcoming Thanksgiving break. There are six of us. Grandparents are in their 70s and two kids are 6 and 4.

The trip will be from Thanksgiving day 11/22 to Sunday 11/25.  We rented an intermediate RV E27 from CruiseAmerica. The Reno resort we are going to (Grand Sierra resort and casino) has a RV park. Our plan is that the grandparents will be staying in the resort room and the kids will be staying with us in the motorhome. Hubby wants to "toughen" them up for future trips, though we ourselves are still newbies and need practice...

During this trip, two days will be spent driving to and from Reno. One day we'll bring kids to Mt. Rose for some snow play (if there is snow during thanksgiving) and one day we will be driving around Reno to visit some museums and check things out etc. We'll park as much as possible under the sun. I'm mostly worried about the night time.

Here is the daily temperature forecast for November at Reno.

I'm wondering whether we need to empty the water line for this 3-night trip? I called CruiseAmerica and they said it's up to us. But how do I know?! They suggested putting a glass of water outside and if water freezes, I need to dump the tank. I asked if by the morning the water in glass freezes, my tank might freeze overnight. Will it be too late and cause some damage? Again, their reply was "up to you"!!! That's not helpful...

There must be experts here that have experience camping under similar condition. Could you please give us some advice on this?
If we clear the water line, does it mean we cannot use the toilet and kitchen sink?
For us/kids to sleep overnight at those temperatures, do we need to turn heater on all night? Will this drain the battery or generator? Will it be very noisy?
Our RV is called E27. I saw forum discussions on A class, C class etc. but not E class. How's the reputation for E27?

Thanks in advance for all your help!



Well-known member
Feb 12, 2006
Looking at the expected temperatures for Reno, they aren't even near freezing.  We've been there over Thanksgiving when there was a lot of snow on the ground and quite cold.  It looks like you'll be fine even it drops into the 40s.  Take plenty of blankets "just in case."

You shouldn't have to drain the water at those temperatures, but if you do drain your tank, that means no flushing the toilet, washing dishes, taking showers, etc. because there won't be any water in your tank.  You will, however, have campground water which bypasses the onboard water tank.  In other words, you'll be hooked up directly to city water, as well as electricity, so you'll have water for everything you need.  If the temperatures do drop to near freezing it's a good idea to disconnect the water hose and drain it so the water in it doesn't freeze.  We've been known to put a frozen water hose in the shower to thaw out during a travel day.

You should plan on using the RV furnace.  Most of them are not as efficient as the ones in houses which is why I suggested the extra blankets.  One trick many of use is to crack under-sink cabinet doors so warmer air flows under the sinks to help prevent freezing of any pipes.

We've often stayed at the Grand Sierra (formerly Hilton) campground and it's not fancy but will do the job for what you want.  Hope you have an enjoyable trip.  Being Thanksgiving weekend, you're more likely to have to contend with heavy traffic on the trip over the mountains.  When we skied in that area there sometimes would be an accident that had traffic stopped for a long time.  If that happens to you, you'll learn why we RVers like to travel with our own toilets!  ;)


Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Feb 2, 2005
At our Silver Springs FL home
As long as the night time lows are in the high 20's or more, there should be no need to worry. It takes several consecutive hours below freezing to cause any damage to the tanks and water lines.  However, I wouldn't leave a water or sewer hose outside if the temps will be below 32 for more than a few hours. Drain them and put away, using your onboard fresh water tank and waste storage tanks until the next day when it warms up again.

I see a few nights in the forecast that will be in the low 20's. That implies that it will drop below freezing by midnight and stay that way to sun-up or so. That's long enough to risk freezing of exposed water tanks and fittings. Note that the dump valves for the waste tanks are probably exposed under the coach or in a compartment with no insulation. And they will have water in them.  You might bring along a gallon or two of RV antifreeze (potable water antifreeze) and dump some into the waste tanks if very cold temps are expected. It doesn't take much top prevent them from freezing.


Well-known member
Feb 27, 2012
Central Oregon
My wife and I do a lot of winter time camping where the temps get down to the low teens to single digits at night and don't gets above freezing during the day.

What we do is put RV anti-freeze in the wastewater tanks that are left closed. About 1/2 gal in each one. This will stop the exposed part of the drain line from freezing. If the gray water tank is left open and the drain hoses slopped properly they stay empty and don?t freeze and you will not need to put antifreeze in them.

During the day we leave the inside temp set at 70 degs and at night we lower it to 60 degs. We do as "ArdraF" mentioned and leave the under sink cabinet doors partially open at night. We always leave the hot water heater running which keeps it warm so it will not freeze. The heat on the inside of the RV keeps the water lines from freezing. On our RV all the tanks, including the fresh water tank, are inside a heated under belly so none of them freeze if the heat is left on.

This has worked for us for three winters now. We really enjoy wintertime camping. Matter a fact we are getting ready to head out for a week in the woods in about 8 days. Can hardly wait.

Oh one other thing. Most of our wintertime camping is in the woods so we are dry camping and use a Generator to keep the batteries up. If you are at a RV park it is even easier having available power all the time.

Wolf Pack Fan

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2010
Reno, Nevada.
Sounds like you've gotten some pretty sound advice so far, so even being a resident of Reno, I can't offer any better suggestions.  I do hope you enjoy Reno though.  GSR is quite a nice property.
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